October 18, 2022


Building Emotional Intimacy

Types of Intimacy

Intimacy is often confused with sex, and while sexual intimacy is important, it is only one of the different types of closeness you can build in your relationship. Depending upon how you define them, there are at least five types of intimacy, according to most marriage therapists and counselors. The kinds of intimacy are also Intellectual Intimacy, Physical Intimacy (both sexual and non-sexual), Experiential Intimacy, and Spiritual Intimacy.

Which is the essential type of intimacy? They all are important, of course, and, depending upon the current circumstances in a relationship,Love Recon BUILDING EMOTIONAL INTIMACY body the answer may vary except for Emotional Intimacy, the foundational type of intimacy for all the others. Emotional intimacy is the glue that holds a relationship together. In subsequent blogs, other types of intimacy will be addressed, but emotional intimacy will be explored and explained for now.

Definition of Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy embodies the phrase: “In-to-me-see.”  It is knowing and understanding the inner life of your spouse – their feelings, dreams, hopes, fears, desires, and vulnerabilities. It means that you become a student of your spouse by learning everything that you can about them and by growing in the understanding of who they are and what makes them tick. It is making an effort to empathize with who they are inside.

How to Build Emotional Intimacy

Emotional intimacy won’t just happen. After the initial thrill and rush of a new relationship subside, the real work of marriage and building lasting intimacy begins. It is a job, but the best job that you will ever have because you are building not only a relationship but a fulfilling life and a lasting legacy. Following are some ways to build the foundation of Emotional Intimacy:

  1. Build Trust

To build Emotional Intimacy, first, build trust. Your spouse needs to feel safe with you if they open up their innermost self to you. Likewise, you need the same. Honesty and consistency over time will build or rebuild the trust required for intimacy.

  1. Show Your Commitment

Don’t just verbalize your commitment; live it out. Let your spouse know that you are “all in.”  Don’t compare them to others. Have eyes for them only. Include them in your plans and goals. Stick with them and be present in the tough times. Leave no doubt that they are “your person.”

  1. Communicate Daily

Have daily conversations just about the two of you. Share how you are feeling, what you are thinking, what your wins were for the day, the biggest challenge you are facing, etc. Really listen and empathize with each other. 

  1. Work on Yourself

Is there anything from your past or a previous relationship that prevents you from being vulnerable with your spouse? Does your anger get out of control? Is your stress level affecting the way you relate to them?

  1. Spend Time Together

Invest time in your relationship. Make it quality time by, first of all, taking a break from electronics. Put your phones down and turn the television off. Take a walk together, cook together, or do home maintenance together. In the course of daily living, look for ways to spend time together, not for ways to get away from each other. Of course, weekend getaways and vacations are lovely, but it’s in the everyday routines of life that Emotional Intimacy is built.

  1. Be Vulnerable

Be the one to initiate more profound and meaningful conversations. Open up and let your spouse see into you first. It can be risky, but it’s worth the risk if you want a more connected and intimate marriage.

  1. Validation is Key

Validation is perhaps the most neglected element in communication, yet it is the key for both to feel heard and understood. Validation does not mean that you agree with your spouse. It simply means that you value them and their thoughts and feelings. For example, “I understand where you’re coming from,” or “Thank you for sharing how you feel about that,” “I love the way your mind works,” etc.

  1. Use Words Wisely

Words have power; therefore, choose your words wisely. Be positive and accepting, allowing your spouse to feel safe, not guarded and defensive.

  1. Be In the Moment

When you are with your spouse, be present. Make eye contact with them. And, again, don’t let electronics rob you of the connection you want. 

  1. Be Generous

Be generous with your words. Give genuine compliments and kind words of encouragement. Be generous with your time by occasionally creating blocks of time to be together or doing a task that will save your spouse time. Do small acts of kindness like charging their electronics or the more significant gesture of booking them a massage. If you know their love language, ramp up your efforts to make them feel loved in the way(s) that they prefer.


Building Emotional Intimacy will take time and effort, but you can do it. A strong foundation of this kind of intimacy will give your marriage a solid and sturdy base.


If you want to learn more about the five types of intimacy or how Love Recon seminars and coaching can help you and your relationship, don’t hesitate to contact me at [email protected] or call 866-218-1716. You may also visit our website, www.LoveRecon.org, for testimonials and information.

About the author 

Cliff Poe

Cliff Poe is Founder and Lead Coach for Recon Coaching. He and his wife, Jeani, are Master Coaches and their passion is to help individuals and couples form healthy, lasting and satisfying relationships. Cliff has a M.Div. in pastoral counseling and ministry. He enjoys writing and coaching as well as his family which includes 2 adult kids and their spouses, 6 grandchildren and a fur family composed of a Golden Retriever and a Mackerel Tabby.

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